The Project Wing aerial drone team at Google’s parent company Alphabet has reportedly hit a big snag. A new report claims that the team is getting smaller and also killed an unrevealed plan for the drones to delivery coffee from Starbucks.
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Bloomberg reports, via unnamed sources, that hiring for Project Wing has been frozen and some current team members are being asked to look at other jobs that might be available at Alphabet. There’s no word on how many team members have been affected by this decision.
If true, this appears to be yet another cost-cutting move by Alphabet as it seeks to cut back on its so-called “Moonshot” technology projects. In an official statement, a spokesperson made some vague hints about these changes:
Project Wing has the potential to remove a big chunk of the friction in how physical things are moved around in the world. What we’re doing now is developing the next phase of our technology, and as always are thinking in a very broad way about all the potential use cases for delivery by unmanned aerial systems.
Bloomberg said that Alphabet and Starbucks were in “advanced talks” to offer delivery of coffee via the Project Wing drones. In fact, the story said that testing for those deliveries had already begun. However, it added that the talks between the two companies ended because Alphabet apparently wanted more access to Starbucks’ customer data than the coffee retailer was confortable with.
Alphabet is still testing a way to deliver burritos and other food from Chipotle Mexican Grill with the Project Wing drones. The tests began a few weeks ago, with invited students and teachers from Virginia Tech able to have their food sent to them by these drones for a fee of $5.99.